I’m in a bad junk food rut. When my life gets busy, unfortunately the first thing to go is healthy eating habits. So when I finally had a moment of free time, I went to the farmers market and felt so inspired by the fresh greens around me that I decided to do a post from all the items I picked up. This green hummus recipe was inspired by the green hummus from Tender Greens’ vegan salad, one of my favorites. It is packed with spinach and arugula and fresh herbs like cilantro and green onion. It’s a great way to change up the ordinary hummus and perfect for healthy and colorful entertaining!
3 1/2 cups of canned garbanzo beans (about 2 15 oz cans)
2 cup of spinach, loosely packed
1 cup of arugula, loosely packed
1/4 cup of cilantro
1/4 cup of diced green onion
1 clove of garlic
1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
Sea salt or kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
If you haven’t realized, I am constantly on the lookout for interesting, unusual cocktail ingredients. Especially those of the seasonal produce variety. I love browsing the farmer’s market and picking out one or two items to use for that evening’s cocktail. Well, it’s June, which means we’ve officially entered fig season here in California. Score! It’s also my birthday month, but I digress. This year, I’m especially excited for figs, because I’ve been waiting to share this cocktail with you. The Fig Thyme is one of the first cocktails I made out of one of my most treasured cocktail books, The Art of the Bar, by Jeff Hollinger and Rob Schwartz, the gentlemen behind the legendary Absinthe Brasserie and Bar, in San Francisco. Absinthe had an effect on me and my career in many ways, but all stories for another time. Right now it’s time for me to grab my shaker and mix up one of the most deliciously complex, yet easy-to-make cocktails of the season. It’s Fig Thyme . . . I couldn’t resist!
What better way to round up our two-week long picnic celebration than picking out our favorite picnic essentials. We love to serve cocktails in ball jars with paper straws and desserts in weck jars. Also, striped butcher twine comes in handy when packaging sandwiches. Last but not least, don’t forget about packing some outdoor games!
I’m a bit obsessed with pickled vegetables. Pickling transforms the simple nature of raw vegetables into something more complex that goes perfect as a side or on their own as a snack. Based in San Francisco, Emmy’s makes a variety of organic and locally sourced artisan pickles and preserves. I first fell in love with Emmy’s fruit jams, but when I recently tried their pickled vegetables I became obsessed. They make a variety of pickles from bread and butter pickles to whole jalapeno and carrots that are available here. Their turmeric cauliflower would go perfect in muffaletta sandwiches!
A pesto pasta salad is the perfect picnic dish but I always hate how after a couple hours the basil turns an unappealing brown-ish green. I’ve tried a few tricks at keeping pesto green, but the two that have worked best are 1) tossing room temperature pasta with the pesto and 2) adding spinach in the pesto. A handful of spinach keeps the pesto vibrant and green but does not detract from the basil flavor. In fact, I doubt anyone can tell there is spinach in the recipe! I added peas because fresh peas seem to be everywhere lately and I love the combination of orecchiette and peas. The dill and mint add even more freshness and brightness to the pasta. Finally, I add one of my favorite cheeses, French feta, which is creamier and milder than Greek feta.
1 lb of dried orecchiette
1 cup of basil, packed
1/2 cup of spinach, packed
1 tbsp toasted pine nuts
1 clove of garlic
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling onto cooked pasta
2 cups of fresh peas, shelled
handful of torn mint and dill
3/4 cup of crumbled French feta (or Greek feta if you can’t find French feta)
Kosher or sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste